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Friday, March 23, 2007

Movies: The Ultimate Gift, 300

The Ultimate Gift (2006)

The plot: A billionaire (James Garner) leaves a unique inheritance to his grandson (Drew Fuller).

I'm always up for a James Garner film, and I'm rarely disappointed. (A Man Called Sledge is one you can skip.) The Ultimate Gift was no exception. It definitely could have been, though. It has all of the elements of a bad movie-of-the-week: a little girl with a fatal disease (Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin), her much put-upon single mom, the spoiled grandson who meets the mother and daughter in a park and falls for both, and the occasional oddly-placed religious overtone. The movie also takes a strange departure two-thirds of the way in but manages to recover and get back on track. Gift manages to overcome its potential "hokeyness" (mostly), to become a thoroughly entertaining, moving, and inspiring film.

300 (2007)

The plot: A small army of 300 Spartans manages to fend off a much larger invading Persian army.

This movie is based on a true story, specifically Frank Miller's graphic novel based on that true story. Visually stunning in both art design and fight choreography, 300 will not disappoint the blood-thirsty epic action-film fans, but it'll probably annoy a few historians.
This film, however, is not a history lesson. It is a thrill ride from start to finish. It's pure entertainment, and there's not a thing wrong with that.

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